Fracking’s Achilles’ Heel

It’s not very often that someone starts his career as a geologist and then winds up as governor, but John Hickenlooper, the governor of Colorado, can make that claim.

 “We had fracking when I was a working geologist in 1981,” he told me on Monday. “It was very primitive. What really changed the world is when we got horizontal drilling. It was a technique that allowed you to recover a lot more natural gas.”

“But,” he added, almost poignantly, “it’s been polarizing.”

That’s for sure. During the last election two weeks ago, four Colorado communities voted to ban hydraulic fracturing (to use the proper terminology). A fifth town, Longmont, voted against fracking a year ago, resulting in a lawsuit brought by the oil and gas industry and joined by the State of Colorado. It is a state where the owner of a parcel of land doesn’t necessarily own the mineral rights underground, which is a source of enormous tension. Colorado has tens of thousands of wells — an economic boon — and also some of the most vocal anti-fracking activists in the country.

Read full text at The New York Times